Cash or Crash?

The trading blog read only by very nice people!

Archive for September, 2009

Trading with tears in my eyes.

Posted by robbiechicago on September 30, 2009

I’m going to shamelessly steal an idea from Leonthefixer’s excellent Don’t Give Up The Day Job blog, and suggest that you play this song whilst reading, to give you an idea of the day I’ve had today.

In a nutshell, today was my worst trading day in terms of strike rate since my second day trading, and the second worst in P/L terms, excluding the time the random weirdness happened and I unexpectedly lost £25 on one race.  I can usually put my finger on a reason why I did badly in a certain race, or on a certain day, but today everything seemed to go against me.  I thought I was doing things correctly but clearly that was not the case.  As things went from bad to worse, naturally the frustration built up which probably made things spiral somewhat.

I very much need to go back to basics, I think, concentrate much more on exactly what I am doing, and why I am doing it, forget about making too much, take the profits when they come, and forget those words of Peter Webb when he said at his trading seminar that he does it “on autopilot”.  Bastard!  😉

The one thing that does please me about today is that I never gave up.  OK, I probably should have done (!), but I stuck with it, battled through and really gave it my all despite getting kicked in the nuts in virtually all the races.  So at least I can be pleased with myself on that score.

I’ve been chatting with JS this evening and he’s suggested I record and analyse my trading.  I think I’ll give this a go.  There are probably some glaring errors in there that stand out like a sore thumb after the event.  I’ll keep you posted!

Here, if you can bear to look, are today’s vitals:

Diabolical!

Diabolical!

Awful!

Awful!

Hope you all had a better day than me today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Trading hangover

Posted by robbiechicago on September 30, 2009

Yesterday I wrote about entering into the day’s action with, amongst other things, a hangover to distract me.  How would my trading be in those circumstances?  Well, the answer is:  Mixed.  Things started of pretty well.  Take a look:

A day of two halves

A day of two halves

The day could certainly described as a game of two halves.  The first seven races saw two losses and five decent gains, and a profit of £6.87.  At this point it all went a bit wonky.  The remaining seven races saw just three wins and four losses, the last being a crippling £13.56 whack which turned a modest profit for the day into another big loss.  So something of a trading hangover after the alcohol related one.

The problems are clearly coming in the races which fit in the grey area between a clear scalping market and a clear swinging market.  I seem to make the same mistake all the time in these markets.  When the price is fairly stable I try to make a few scalps.  If the market moves in the wrong direction I leave the unmatched bet in the hope that the price will come back, but add a new reverse bet at the new price.  This might happen two, three or four times, leaving me more exposed than I should be.  Then, of course, there’s a small swing in the price even further away from my unmatched bets, and I have to scratch.  But rather than scratching one trade for a loss, it’s several, hence the large losses.  Having clearly identified this issue I think I’ll be able to tackle it now, and avoid making the same mistakes.  We shall see.  However, I’m not entirely sure how these markets should be traded.  I can either continue trying to scalp them but being ruthless in closing out for a loss as soon as the market moves the wrong way, or else I can sit and wait for a swing and hope that it’s big enough for me to get on before it stops and rebounds.  I’m sure over time I’ll find the answer.

The loss on the day was, obviously, annoying, but I’m most disappointed that the poor strike rate has seen my average strike rate drop for the first time in weeks.  Not good.  I am still confident I can make this work, but I do need to start seeing consistency in my trading.  I shall try to remain very focused for the rest of the week – no more hangovers, cricket or first dates to distract me!

Yesterday’s figures:

Tuesday 29th September 2009

Tuesday 29th September 2009

Have a wicked Wednesday!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Trading with a hangover – good or bad?

Posted by robbiechicago on September 29, 2009

Actually, there are a whole host of excuse-makers lined up for this afternoon:

  • The Hangover.  I was away for the weekend, got home yesterday evening and cracked open a bottle of wine which I drained whilst watching speedway and playing the odd game of Guitar Hero.  Now I feel rough as.
  • The Break.  It’s been a few days since I traded.  Will the time out of the game help or hinder?
  • The Cricket.  I think I’ll be keeping an eye on the game this afternoon.  I don’t usually have the racing on when I’m trading, so I’m not sacrificing anything other than concentration.  I have a feeling this might prove to be a bad move!
  • The Date.  I’m going on a date this evening with a girl I’ve not yet met, and this is very much at the front of my mind at the moment.  I’ll blame her if I have a bad day!

So, lets see how the day shapes up.

Elsewhere, a few of you have requested the spreadsheet I offered in this post.  If you would like a copy, send me a message and I’ll shoot it in your direction.

Have a profitable day!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Mystery Error

Posted by robbiechicago on September 25, 2009

Time to catch up on my trading, as I am sure there are literally some of you desperate to hear if my good run would continue.  Well, to answer that, take a look at this:

table…and then this:

bets

What the hell happened in that first race?  You know, I wish I could tell you.  As you know I’ve traded several days which have included one stand-out nasty loss.  Each time this has happened, I’ve watched it happen.  Obviously.  I mean, that’s what we do, isn’t it, watch things.  And we should all know where we are and what is happening at every given moment.  This loss, however, was a complete and utter shock to me.

I tend to have my P/L page on Betfair open when I trade, and every so often I update it to see how I’m getting on.  If I go into the red I like to watch myself crawl out of the mess and back into profit.  Yesterday, I traded the first race without much success and eventually got out with what I thought was a £6 loss.  No big deal, I thought, I’ll wipe that out within three races or so, and as planned, my next four all produced a profit.  Checking my P/L, I was astonished to see that rather than being a £6 loss it was a £26 loss.  Clearly I hadn’t traded to this bad a loss.  There are only three things I think could have caused this.  First, I may have forgotten to green up before I went to the next race.  Second, I could have moved on to the next race without trading my net stake back to zero.  Third, and I think most likely, I left a £20 bet in the market unmatched.  During the races I traded yesterday I took the opportunity to place some money at empty prices, hoping to use them if the price moved towards them.  One of these could have disappeared off the page as the price moved in the other direction.

Whatever happened, it knocked me for six and I started to lose my composure.  Just like the previous day, I made it a mission to trade my way back into positive territory, but I think the shock at this big loss and the daunting size of the job in hand put me off my game.  Things started to go wrong and where normally a few losing races would be accepted as part of the normal ebb and flow, it got to me yesterday.  So I gave up early and went to commit some crimes on my Playstation.

I think I can be excused for reacting badly yesterday, given the shock of the initial unexpected loss, but I know I can and should do so much better.  Tuesday and Wednesday this week showed me that I can battle back and make a profit even when things go badly.  I have also learned that there is no point in giving up when things are going wrong.  The days I’ve lasted the distance have generally been good days.  Clearly things would have been very different had the first race not done what it did, so the silver lining is that the big loss was not due to trading badly, just through carelessness.

This afternoon I am going out, so I have decided not to trade, and give myself a break.  I’m also away at the weekend so it won’t be until Tuesday until I’m back in the mix.  I expect the break will help, as will the prospect of four winning days in a row next week!  Now there’s a challenge!

Hope you all have a superb weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Friday Giveaway!

Posted by robbiechicago on September 25, 2009

A week or so ago, I was contacted by one of you asking for a copy of the Excel spreadsheet I use to record my trading.  I replied that I would be happy to do so, and would pass it on by the beginning of this week.  Clearly that was a bit optomistic – apologies.  However, over the last week I have been tidying up the spreadsheet a bit and writing some instructions on how to use it.  Version 1.1 of TradingPandL.xls is now ready!

Click here for a screenshot of TradingPandL V1.1.xls

Click here for a screenshot of TradingPandL V1.1.xls

The spreadsheet is extremely easy to use, nicely laid out, and contains a host of useful information including the totals and averages needed to monitor your performance as time goes by.  There are sections for viewing your data based on weekday, month and on a week by week basis, as well as showing each day’s all important figures.  It is, however, also an incomplete work in progress.  I will be making revisions, additions and updates as I have time, and these updates will also be made available.  I consider this spreadsheet an open-source project, so if you take a copy and are inclined to make your own changes or revisions to it, all the better!  None of it will be password protected, what I have done is yours to play with as you see fit.  Also, feel free to pass it on to friends if you think they would find it useful.  All I ask is that you don’t pass it off as your own work!  I would also like to call on any Excel gurus out there who may be able to help me solve a problem I have as yet been unable to overcome .  Some formulas which I think should work are not behaving (those pesky #Value errors shown in the screenshot).  There are details within the file itself – let me know if you may be able to help, it would be very much apprecitated!

So, if you want a copy, either add a comment here with your email address, or contact me at robhollo (-at-) yahoo (-dot-) co (-dot-) uk and I’ll send one over.  (I’m going to be away for the weekend so I might not get back to you until Tuesday).  Hopefully you’ll find it a useful addition to your trading analysis!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Two in row – first in two and half weeks!

Posted by robbiechicago on September 23, 2009

In fact, today provided only my second ever consecutive winning days, so I’m rather pleased with myself.  This post will be a quicky since I’m off to see my mate Heavy D in a bit.  Here are today’s race results – you’ll see immediately why I am doubly pleased with my performance:

bets

As you can see, I had an iffy start, but pulled it together quickly and started to make some profit.  Then, after a pesky £4.86 loss, things went completely pear shaped and I had a dreadful hit of £12.63.  Now, a few days ago I would have shouted, punched things, huffed around and possibly given up.  Today, the loss did not affect me at all.  In fact, when it happened, I had a little chuckle and vowed that today would definitely not be a losing day.  I ploughed on with added enthusiasm and purpose, and suffered only one more losing race in the remaining twelve.

I’m very happy with the way things have gone these last two days, and really feel that the penny might have dropped.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to let myself be complacent, I will remain cautious and sensible over the next couple of days.  Let’s see if we can make it three in a row tomorrow!

table

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

A Eureaka Moment?

Posted by robbiechicago on September 22, 2009

I was going to title this post Damage Limitation or something similar.  My recent performance has been calamitous.  My previous post told the tale of a disastrous £25.69 loss on one race which saw me stomp about my flat in a rage.  Sadly, that sorry story had become rather familiar.  When I look at my last six trading days before today I had maximum losses of £12, £12, £11 and £7 on four of those days, and just one day during that time where I finished in the black.  Not good.

Yesterday’s trading was pretty bad, with a £12 loss bringing my day’s P/L down to -£8.58.  The one good thing about yesterday was that the big loss occurred fairly early in the day and I had the discipline to remain at my post and face the enemy.  Unfortunately the remaining nine races I traded provided me with just 25p profit, but at least I tried.

So, going into the this afternoon I was determined that I would concentrate solely on minimising my losses, and not worrying too much about my strike rate or maximising my winning trades.  There was something else I decided too.  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts I mentioned that I have been trading quite early before the off and trying to scalp ticks before the professionals come to the party and make things go haywire.  Swing trading had been a problem, you see, and I had been trying to avoid it.  In theory you can scalp a swingy market while things are fairly quiet, but the risk is that the price will suddenly sprint off while you’re still exposed.  Swing markets do have a tendency to swing!  This is what has caught me out and created these big losses.  It’s also bugged me a bit that I’m avoiding the most active part in favour of the quiet times, just because I was inexperienced.  There’s only one way to learn, and that is not to run away from the challenge.  So today, I decided, I would get back into the mix and trade with everyone else, right down to the off.

Cutting a long story short, here’s how I got on:

Tuesday 22nd September 2009

Tuesday 22nd September 2009

As you can see, it would not be true to say that I have eliminated the large loss problem.  However, I do think that I might just have had a eureka moment today.  I think I might be getting the hang of swing trading.  Both the early £3.63 and £8.66 losses had been considerably worse, particularly the latter, which at one stage was looking more like a £13 loss.  But while I was trying to find my way back into a more positive position I was able to sit back and study the market movements more than I do when I’m in profit, and it became clear that I need to be much more patient when swing trading, concentrate on the trends, look at where the money is going, and, crucially, allow the long term swing to play out rather than jumping every time the price movement switched direction.

With this new mindset I traded pretty well for the rest of the day, and was really pleased with myself for, hopefully, having made a decent step forward in my education.  Of course, it’s the coming days which will tell.  My last two winning days have been followed by four and three losing days, so I know not to get too excited!  Here are the numbers for the last couple of days, plus the usual totals:

Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd September 2009

Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd September 2009

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Disaster and Dispair

Posted by robbiechicago on September 18, 2009

Check this out:

Pete Tong

Pete Tong

Do I really need to say more?  I suppose I should, it will get it all off my chest.

First of all, as you can see, despite my post yesterday congratulating myself for getting right back on the bike after falling off (as it were), I could not bring myself to trade after this nightmare occurred.  In my defense, Guitar Hero 5 arrived this morning, so I did have something to distract myself with.  If it hadn’t come I expect I would have gone back to the computer and tried (and, I am sure, succeeded) to mop up some of the mess.  But that didn’t happen, so I have the pain of this lingering over me until next week now.  Goody.

The question is, how did this happen?  Well, it’s happened before, and I fear it may again – I was scalping, the price moved a little bit, I tried to scalp the new price, the price moved again, and before I knew it I was horribly exposed and unable to do much about it as the price moved away from me.  This tends to happen when the price is moving quite slowly, so I assume it’ll come back.  It moves a couple of ticks in the wrong direction, I don’t worry too much, it moves again, I mutter at the screen it moves again, I sit up and get nervous, it moves again and again and the swearing begins.  All this happens over the space of several minutes, which is definitely the problem.  If the price moves quickly I tend to get out fairly rapidly and reassess the market.

So what should I do in this situation?  First of all, I need to place fewer entry trades in the market when I’m already in.  This was a major problem here, as I found myself with stupid amounts of cash unmatched and looking increasingly lonely away from the action.  I also need to get out sooner, this is clear. The problem with that is that I am trading quite a long time before the off, so things often go slowly anyway, so I am used to watching things plod along without much happening.  I suppose I need to be very disciplined and set myself a stop loss to protect myself, unless the market’s being a bit more volatile in which case it’s probably best to avoid that.

So all in all not a good way to end the week.  This will have completely messed up my September Challenge stats, and right now I’m not inclined to tag this on to yesterday’s loss – far too depressing.

We must, of course look at the positives.  My earlier bike-riding analogy is a good one for me to keep in mind, I think.  I am still learning.  It will be months before I could be described as competent at this.  It’s unrealistic to think that I will not make stupid mistakes, and have nasty losing days.  Indeed, these mistakes serve to push me further up the learning curve, so are not all bad.  In addition, the rest of the day’s trading went pretty well.  Before the last race I was over seven quid up, and that after a bad start in the first race of the day.  Also, my average strike rate has just peeped over 60% thanks to today’s 77.78% success rate, which I am very pleased about.  Oh, and let’s not forget…  I ROCK!

guitar-hero-5-screenshot

Anyway, today’s numbers:

Friday 18th September 2009

Friday 18th September 2009

Have a good and profitable week, everyone.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Targets

Posted by robbiechicago on September 17, 2009

Yesterday I mentioned that I might set myself some targets to see if this focuses my mind more and helps improve performance.  First of all, I have to say that I understand targets can be dangerous as well as healthy.  It’s possible that, after suffering a setback or two and knowing that the all important figures have taken a beating, one could find themselves chasing those losses, whether consciously or not.  I will keep this in mind.  But I feel that the positives will almost certainly outweigh the negatives, so I’ll give it a go.

OK.  It’s 17th September.  A nice obvious timescale could be the end of the month.  So, by the 1st October I will attempt the following:

  1. Average 12 races traded on each trading day.  (This will help stop me flouncing off in a strop each time I suffer a loss, something I prone to doing at the moment).
  2. With a tick size of £1, make an average profit of £1 per race.
  3. Ensure a strike rate of at least 70%
  4. Take my total P/L (at the start of the day today it’s -£45.54) back above zero.

Clearly if I achieve the first three, target number four will also be reached.  I think these goals are tough, but achievable.  Lets see what happens.

archerySo, to today’s trading.  Well, I’m writing this at 4.30pm, which means I’ve given up before the end of play, as usual.  This is something else I need to work on, as there’s no point in trading just for an hour or two.  I mentioned above my habit of getting in a stress and storming off after a heavy loss.  I’ve done this several times.  In fact, I doubt there’s been a time when I’ve managed to remain seated after losing badly.  It happened again today, although I’m quite pleased with my eventual response.  The 15:20 at Ayr suddenly went massively against me and I found myself over £12 down.  I managed to creep this back up to an £11.38 loss, but at this point traded out and stomped off in a rage, swearing like Gordon Ramsey speaking French.  This loss was the fourth of the day, after 7 races, and the frustration with the markets had been rumbling away inside me before this happened.  I still can’t figure out how two days can be so incredibly different from each other.  Yesterday, almost everything slipped into place nicely, but today was a real struggle.  Anyway, I shut down Bet Angel and hissed off into the lounge thinking that I was too pissed off to trade any more.  But after a minute or so I gave myself a good talking to and pulled myself together.  There was no way things were going to improve unless I tackled them head on.  Even at this early stage in my career there are many more wins than losses, so surely getting my head together, knuckling down and battling on would see an improvement.  I traded five races after that disastrous one, and had no further losses, so I have proved myself right.

So, in the end I finished £7 down on the day, but it would have been more like £11 or £12 down had I given up entirely after the big loss.  Those last five wins were a struggle, which is why I have stopped early.  Given that I’m not in the best of moods I’ve decided to go and visit a friend for the evening which will no doubt cheer me up considerably.

Here are my figures.  Not a great start to my September targets, but there’s plenty of time to burn off this loss!  (Oh, you’ll notice that I’ve changed the days of the week in the yellow part of the table to indicate how many of each day I have traded):

Thursday 17th September 2009

Thursday 17th September 2009

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Control Centre!

Posted by robbiechicago on September 17, 2009

Traders are often fascinated by their peers’ workspaces.  I’m no different.  I’m a slave to gadgetry and love to see how other people have their bits and pieces set up.  With that in mind, here’s a picture of the Trading Techno-core here at Cashorcrash Towers:

The cutting-edge of trading technology

The cutting-edge of trading technology

As you can see, I am leading the way with a set-up most traders could only dream of.  Bet Angel is running on a 4 year old Asus laptop which has been connected to a secondary screen, allowing me to view the Market Overview and Enhanced Ladder pages at the same time.  Next to that is another laptop, this time manufactured by a company called Apple Macintosh, which I use to keep an eye on gg.com.  I also have At The Races beamed like magic through the airwaves from my Sky box to the Apple allowing me to keep an eye on things at the courses.  I know, I know, it all seems a bit far fetched, but I do like to push the boundaries.  You can also see a few cups of tea (important) and lot of wires (also important).

I hope you’ve enjoyed your glimpse into the future!  It’s exciting, isn’t it!  Whatever next?  A contraption that makes a cup of tea for you when your alarm clock goes off?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »